Pollok boss Murdie MacKinnon says he has stepped up plans to have every one of his Newlandsfield players match ready for the beginning of April.

And with good cause, if as reported, SJFA moves are already underway behind the scenes for playing last season’s Macron Scottish Junior Cup competition, which Lok supporters will recall was suspended mid-March 2019 by the onset of coronavirus restrictions, but only after the Southside giants had secured their place in the semi-finals with a 4-1 victory over last-eight opponents Neilston.

Making the subsequent penultimate stage draw saw Pollok land a two-legged showdown against whosoever comes out on top in the delayed Auchinleck Talbot v Hurlford United quarter final, while the other half of the draw has yet another top-flight side in Beith awaiting the winners of the replay clash between Broughty Athletic v Darvel.

Fast-forward nine months and now considered opinion reckons plans are openly afoot to set aside dates in March for the outstanding quarter-final ties, thus freeing up April for fitting in the long-awaited last-four contests and MacKinnon is determined he and his club will not be caught unprepared.

A strong and vehement advocate of Pollok’s stance in withdrawing from the WOSFL this season, he nevertheless did not shy away this week from giving his consent to loan deals enabling Lok captain Paul Gallagher along with defensive allies Mark Sideserf and Grant Evans to join Albion Rovers while versatile ace David Barron was given the thumbs up to sign for Conference B outfit Greenock.

And it was only on Monday that Queen's Park gaffer Ray McKinnon finally completed the loan signing of Lok striking prospect Stuart McCann who has been training with the Scottish League Two side since August but unable to play competitively.

MacKinnon revealed: “We gave the green light to Stuart almost from day one of Queen's Park making an approach and his move there was approved by the SFA but rejected by the SPFL on the grounds that Pollok are a professional club therefore any transfer could not proceed until the January window.

“It’s been a particularly frustrating time for him but hopefully he can now get some much needed game time under his belt.”

This latest handful of Pollok short-term transfers brings the total squad departures to 12 following the previous exits of Bryan Wharton and Danny McKenzie (Bo’Ness Utd), Del Esplin (Caledonia Braves), Stephen McDevitt (Rossvale), Daz Christie (BSC Glasgow), Iain Russell (Cowdenbeath) and Adam Forde (Neilston), while there have been two deals of a permanent nature, St Cadocs’ bold capture of Chris Dallas in November followed yesterday by Brechin City announcing they had re-signed their former stopper Gerry McLauchlan who had only moved to Pollok at the start of last season from Queen's Park.

And one hears on the terracing grapevine of further moves in the pipeline with several Conference clubs linked with Pollok’s surviving eight-strong dressing room band, headed up by Junior internationalist winger Gary McCann.

MacKinnon admitted: “My opinion remains unchanged insofar as I believe clubs at our level should not be playing through these times and I fully concur with the decision made by Pollok’s club officials to pull out of the WOSFL season.

“But right from the outset, we had guys stating their preference was to keep playing even if to do so meant a change of clubs and we did our best to accommodate all requests while at the same time protecting Pollok’s interests.

“That’s why players were asked to sign contract extensions as a precursor to going out on loan and also helps explain why all agreements had to include  a non-negotiable recall clause by us as the parent club.

“Always at the back of my mind was this scenario whereby Pollok would be asked at some point about our willingness to participate in the Scottish Junior Cup and now the possibility has been raised, it’s comforting to think we have a strategy in place.

“You can make the mistake of looking too far ahead at the bigger picture because as things currently stand,  match fitness should not pose too much of a problem with so many clubs prepared to take on our remaining players.

“In particular, both our goalkeepers Jordan Longmuir and Josh Lumsden need to be fixed up sooner rather than later and the same need applies to Ryan McGregor who has been almost a year out with serious knee injury.

“Otherwise, I fully expect all our squad to have crammed in valuable playing minutes ahead of the April deadline though I’m still having sleepless nights over the WOSFL decision on Boxing Day to ban friendly matches until further notice.

“Look, it’s unclear whether their edict applies to Pollok ,given we are not actually participating in the WOSFL however clarity is required because my players will need at least four outings to iron out the creases and get our act together for the Scottish.” 

Saturday 9th January 2021 (kick offs 1.45pm)
WOSFL Premier Division Beith v Bonnyton Thistle, Irvine Meadow v Troon, Rob Roy v Darvel, Blantyre Vics v Rutherglen Glencairn, Hurlford Utd v Cumbernauld Utd, Clydebank v Kilwinning Rangers, Rossvale v Largs Thistle. 
WOSFL Conference League A Kello Rovers v Craigmark, Ashfield v Maybole, Annbank Utd v Ardeer Thistle, Bellshill Athletic v Maryhill, Renfrew v Glasgow University, Muirkirk v St Rochs. 
WOSFL Conference League B Johnstone Burgh v St Cadocs, Vale of Leven v Lugar Boswell, Carluke Rovers v Gartcairn, Greenock v Irvine Vics, Wishaw v Neilston, Forth Wanderers v Port Glasgow. 
WOSFL Conference League C St Anthonys v Lanark Utd, East Kilbride Thistle v Drumchapel Utd, Thorniewood Utd v Newmains Utd, Glasgow Perthshire v Kilsyth Rangers.